Click on the titles for more information about each volume.

The Epitome of Queen Lilávati (volume two)Jinaratna
R.C.C. Fynes
Jina·ratna, Jain scholarmonk, completed his poem in the year 1285CE in western India, in Jábali·putra, modern Jhalor in the state of Rajasthan. As its title suggests, “The Epitome of Queen Lilávati” is an epitome of a much larger work, “The Story of the Final Emancipation of Lilávati,”... more »

Five Discourses on Worldly WisdomViṣṇuśarman
Patrick Olivelle
The king despairs of his idle sons, so he hires a learned brahmin who promises to make their lessons in statecraft unmissable. The lessons are disguised as short stories, featuring mainly animal protagonists. Many of these narratives have traveled across the world, and are known in the West as... more »

Maha·bhárata II: The Great Hall.
Paul Wilmot
The ‘Great Hall’ is Book Two of the Maha·bhárata, one of India’s two national epics. This magnificent book relates some of the most seminal events of the epic, culminating in the famous game of dice between the Pándavas and the Káuravas. The Pándavas, happily settled in Indra·prastha, enjoy one glorious success after... more »

Maha·bhárata VII: Drona (volume one of four).
Vaughan Pilikian
After Bhishma is cut down at the end of the previous book of the Maha·bhárata, the book which bears his name, Duryódhana selects Drona as leader of his forces. Drona accepts the honour with Bhishma’s blessing, despite his ongoing personal conflicts as mentor to both the Pándava and Káurava heroes in... more »

Messenger PoemsKālidāsa, Dhoyī, and Rūpa Gosvāmin
Sir James Mallinson
Kali·dasa’s fifth-century CE “Cloud Messenger” is a beautiful and pure expression of an exiled lover’s love. That first messenger poem is imitated in the twelfth century in the “Wind Messenger,” its sentiment diluted with Dhoyi’s praise of his royal patron King Lákshmana·sena of Gauda (Bengal), and the “Swan Messenger,” in which... more »

Ramáyana III: The ForestVālmīki
Sheldon I. Pollock
This is the third book of the seven books of India’s most beloved and influential epic tale—the Ramáyana of Valmíki. This third book carries forward the narrative by following the exiled hero Rama, his wife, and his brother on their wanderings. The book contains the narrative center of the epic, the... more »

Ramáyana V: SúndaraVālmīki
Robert P. Goldman & Sally J. Sutherland Goldman
The fifth and most popular book of the Ramáyana of Valmíki, “Súndara” recounts the adventures of the monkey hero Hánuman in leaping across the ocean to the island citadel of Lanka. Once there, he scours the city for the abducted Princess Sita. The poet vividly describes the opulence of the court... more »

Rama Beyond PriceMurāri
Judit Törzsök
“Rama Beyond Price,” a dramatised remake of the Ramáyana, is one of the most challenging pieces of Sanskrit poetry to read. Because of its elegant style, learned allusions and often striking imagery, the poem has been a great favourite among pundits, although it received little attention in the West until recently.... more »

The Recognition of ShakúntalaKālidāsa
Somadeva Vasudeva
The play Shakúntala was one of the first examples of Indian literature to be seen in Europe, first translated into English, and then into German. It attracted considerable attention (from Goethe, among others) and, indeed, pained surprise that such a sophisticated art form could have developed without the rest of the... more »